The African National Congress (ANC) has backed the South African government’s withdrawal of support for Miss SA organisers because they insist on taking part in the Miss Universe pageant next month.
The ANC on Sunday said, “it welcomes the announcement by South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Honorable Nathi Mthethwa that our government is withdrawing its support for Miss South Africa over their planned trip to Israel.”
“The ANC continues to call upon Nine-squared, which owns the Miss South Africa organisation, to hear and listen to the overwhelming call for the Miss South Africa team to boycott the upcoming Apartheid Israel-hosted Miss Universe,” said the party’s national spokesperson, Pule Mabe.
He said the racism, human rights violations, illegal settlements, ongoing unlawful occupation and the Apartheid laws of Israel are well documented and should be compelling enough for your withdrawal.
“We painfully remember when black South Africans were not allowed to participate in competitions including under the Miss South Africa title, but rather had to participate in Miss World pageants under the title ‘Miss Africa South’.
“This horrible history of racism of the Miss SA “trademark” makes the boycott of this Miss Universe even more important and necessary.
“The ANC remembers with gratitude how 9 contestants boycotted the 1976 Miss World pageant in protest against Miss SA’s participation and against the South African Apartheid regime.”
Pule said these contestants, their countries, and their organisations made sacrifices for “our freedom”.
He said there was a precedent for boycotts for moral, personal, and other reasons by participants of the Miss Universe pageant.
“We and many others at the time called for the boycott of Miss World, just as Palestinians did on the 12th of November in a press statement released by Fatah calling for Miss South Africa to withdraw from Miss Universe,” said Pule.
“The ANC in its most recent National Conference resolved to downgrade our diplomatic relations with Israel.
“Since then our government has made firm steps, recalling our ambassador and not posting one back in Israel – for two years now we have had no ambassador in Israel.”
Pule said the South African government continues to actively show our solidarity with this extremely important decision.
“We recently observed disturbing videos of comrade Lesiba Machaba, a senior South African diplomat based in Ramallah, being assaulted and disrespected by Israeli police who were not allowing Palestinians to pick their olives,” said Pule.
“In this context, it would be a betrayal of the South African people for Nine squared and its CEO Stephanie Weil to insist on participation in Israel.
“We believe that the Miss SA organisation has a responsibility to give considerate advice and support to Miss Lalela Mswane and that the damage to her reputation of proceeding to Israel will far exceed any glamor that may arise.
“She is the face of a brand that Ninesquared owns so she will be blamed if the organisation proceeds, we call on her to do the right thing and withdraw, and for the CEO Stephanie Weil and the Miss South Africa company to support Mswane.
“As the ANC we firmly stand by this important decision by our government and Minister Mthethwa.”
Weil has publicly stated that Miss SA will not be bullied into withdrawing from the Miss Universe pageant.